After the first autographing session and lunch, Charles Benoit gave a wonderful speech about his writing, which involved hilarious and sentimental/touching stories about his mother. He had the whole room laughing and even possibly crying at the end. His presentation was a great way to start off the second half of the conference.
My dad and I attended the Supernatural Panel, which featured Claudia Gray, Nancy Holder, Sophie Jordan, Kiersten White, and Debbie Viguie. I think this panel was my favorite for obvious reasons. Haha. They mostly discussed their research and mythology in their books and how their novels are different than others. Kiersten said gremlins were her major difference, which made us all laugh. Sophie discussed her draki mythology, which was fascinating to hear. She and Kiersten joke about Firelight being “smokin'” and “smoldering”, and apparently “Smolder” was a possible title for Firelight. Claudia told us about a Romanian vampire legend she read that said people used to believe if you left a watermelon out for too long, it would become a vampire. Everyone laughed at this. Just take a moment to picture an angry looking watermelon with fangs rolling toward you. 🙂 Nancy and Debbie talked about writing books together, which was really interesting. I don’t think I could write with someone else. I have a hard enough time songwriting with other people. I had briefly met Nancy earlier in the day, which I was really excited about because she used to write Buffy the Vampire Slayer novels and hers were always my favorite.
Afterward, I introduced myself to Kiersten and Sophie. Like Andrea and Alex, it was so great to meet Kiersten and Sophie in person after having exchanging emails and tweets with them.
The next session I attended was in the same room, so my dad and I moved up toward the front and waited for the In My ‘Hood panel to start, which featured Chicago-based authors Simone Elkeles, Stephanie Hemphill, Stacey Kade, and James Klise. I shamefully/unfortunately haven’t read any of Simone’s books, but she was hilarious! My favorite part was when she discussed her book covers/trailer and she said, “Just find me a hot Latino boy!” ….you probably had to be there to find it funny. 😉 The authors on this panel mostly discussed setting and how setting their stories in Illinois allowed them to accurately express what the setting looks like.
Well, that concludes the breakout sessions I attended. After the In My ‘Hood panel, everyone regrouped in the ballroom to listen to Dana Reinhardt speak. She did a hilarious presentation about her book covers and her slide show was comprised of variations of the cover for her latest novel, The Things Only a Brother Knows. Then, to bring the conference to an end, David Levithan and John Green spoke! *Insert squeals of excitement here* EVERYONE could not have been more excited for these two hilarious and fun guys. They spoke a little about how their collaboration with Will Grayson, Will Grayson came to be, including an interpretive dance from David, and then they spoke about how much YA literature has changed and how influential it is.
David and John’s speech was followed by the final event, which was another autographing session. This time, I went to Alexandra Adornetto, Kiersten White, Sophie Jordan, David Levithan and John Green. Meeting David and John was kind of like meeting rock stars. They’re so popular amongst readers and it was an honor to meet them both. Actually, it was honor to meet all the authors and librarians and readers at the conference. Being surrounded by other book lovers and writers was amazing and I couldn’t have had a better time! I am so grateful I was able to go!
To all the authors who took the time not only to be there, but to chat with me and take pictures: THANK YOU! It was a pleasure to meet all of you and I hope our paths will cross again soon. 🙂
And to Anderson’s Bookshops, thank you for running such an amazing event! I look forward to attending the conference for years to come! Who knows, maybe I’ll be on a panel someday. One can dream, right?
I might be doing a third, overall post about the conference, but we’ll see. If I do, I promise it’ll have more photos! 🙂